The Duchess of Cambridge travelled to South Wales on Wednesday to meet vulnerable and disadvantaged families who are being supported by the charity, Action for Children. Kate took over the patronage from Her Majesty the Queen in December, and during her first engagement as patron, the Duchess saw two of the charity's projects. A spokesman for Prince William's wife had previously said that Kate was "incredibly proud" to follow in the Queen's footsteps. "The Duchess firmly believes that every child who needs it should be given the best support at the earliest opportunity, and is pleased to support their important work," they said. "She is looking forward to getting to know the people that make Action for Children such a success and meeting the young people they work with."
Kate, who looked elegant in a red Paule Ka suit, first visited Torfaen where she was greeted by Mayor Veronica Crick. The Duchess was given an introduction to MIST, a child and adolescent mental health project that works specifically with children who are living in care with foster families or birth families. Kate learnt how the service helps both the young person and their carer or birth family to address complex mental health needs, to avoid the child being placed in residential or institutional care.
Kate visited Action for Children in Wales
During the visit, Kate met young people who use the centre, including Craig Davies and Connor Goodacre, both 15. The royal took a shot at pool, with Craig later joking: "She was dreadful." For her part, Kate patted his back and said sorry for her attempt. The group had just had a private meeting, where the boys told Kate how they use the centre. "She was really interested in talking to us," said Craig. "She was saying the dog was fine and that they also had a really small hamster."
As she left, two girls Ypapanti Galimatakis, eight, and Chloe Bartlett, ten, handed her some flowers and asked after Prince George and Princess Charlotte, as Kate filled them in on their ages. "George and Charlotte would have loved to have met you," said the Duchess.
As she left, she told the two girls: "George and Charlotte would have loved to have met you"
The second part of the engagement took Kate to the Caerphilly Family Intervention Team. Prince William's wife learnt about the team's work with children with emotional and behavioural difficulties, problems with family relationships and those who have or who are likely to self-harm. Kate viewed the family therapy work which helps families understand the reasons behind certain behaviour.
This was the Duchess' first official engagement as patron of Action For Children. She previously visited the charity's programmes at Cape Hill Children's Centre in Smethwick in 2015. In Wales, the charity helped 13,000 children and young people last year. Nationwide, it operates over 600 services, improving the lives of 390,000 children, teenagers, parents and carers every year.
Before her engagement, Kate was praised for the impact she is having in the area of helping vulnerable children, in particular their mental health. Chief executive of Action for Children Sir Tony Hawkhead said: "It was quite a stigma as mental health was seen as very different way to physical health. She has been part of a real change in both political, when you see the way politicians talk, and also in the way everyday people see it. We are talking about and see it as ok to talk about. She has been a huge spearhead of that."